Monday, December 7, 2015

Tim O'Reilly, popular for coining the phrase 'open source,' says, "Every industry and every organization will have to transform itself in the next few years." I agree with this - but I think we need to kick it up a notch: everything will be transformed in the next few years whether we like it or not, and we can either react to the changes as they come or take the wheel and hit the gas.

I think about the effects of rapid change on our very own city. Every community in California is grappling with the aftermath of AB 109 and Prop 47 and Chico is no different. In my opinion, as I help to lead an organization focused on our members' #1 priority of a safer community, the solution is going to be largely home-grown and starts with adapting to the community-oriented policing model rolling out in Chico now. In many ways, our hands are already on the wheel.

We can and should look to other communities for best practices - as we have done with much success in replicating the campus-community safety policies in San Luis Obispo this year - but we shouldn't underestimate the unique and immediately impactful work happening in Chico right now that simply couldn't be duplicated in denser areas of the state. In this case, geography and the enduring pride that forms the backbone of our community are on our side and are making a difference both behind the scenes and right in front of our very eyes, like the partnership between Stairways and our police department's Target Team.

So, while I think our vision of a safer community is going to require heavier lifting than less complex community goals of the past, I do think it's possible to achieve it if we all participate, in some way, in the role designed specifically for citizens in community-oriented policing. My request of you, as you plan out 2016 for your business, is to consider attending our monthly safety meetings to shake hands with neighboring businesses and our police department. Oftentimes, familiarity is the first step in building the connections that will make our community stronger and safer in the long run. The first safety meeting hosted by Team Chico in 2016 will be held on January 14th from noon - 1pm at the PG&E offices on Rio Lindo. And if you haven't tried yet, check it out.
Lastly, as we kick off the giving season, please consider donating time, goods, or funds to a local provider or service that benefits the community and our citizens year-round. Lending a hand rather than giving a hand-out does wonders this time of year and could save lives.

Enjoy the season, your families, and the wintery weather, and hold on to your hats because we're "Moving Chico Forward" in 2016!